Thepopeofastoria’s Weblog

Do you want to or not?
December 22, 2008, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Asking for a sip of someone`s drink. Asking if someone wants to speak to a person on the phone when they call. Two very simple things. A person can ask, “can I have a sip of your Perrier?” or ” Do you want some of my Perrier?” or “(insert name) is on the phone, do you want to speak to him?” 

Now, a man would give a binary answer, “Yes I would” of “no, thank you.”

But then there is the case of women:

In terms of the sip:

Girl: Oooh, is that lemon Perrier?


Girl: Thats what i should be drinking instead of soda, so that I can fit into my wedding dress without having to work out.

me: Would you like to try some?

Girl: no.  

( notice, i asked, and she said , very clearly, NO. as I do NOT want any.)

two minutes elapse

Me: Do you want some of my Perrier?

Girl: No.  ( Second time!)

Me: are you sure? I will finish it eventually.

Girl: No, its fine. ( third time)

Me: Ok.

two more minutes elapse

Me: Im going to finish this, do you want the last bit?

Girl: No, thats ok, you have it.

Me: Are you sure?, you can have it if you want it.

Girl: No, go ahead.

Me: Okay, here I go.

I drink the last of the Perrier

Girl: WHY DID YOU DO THAT? I WANTED SOME! Ohhhh, noooooo! 

I offered three times, was refused, and gave her the chance to have the last of it for herself. She again refuses, but he fact that I finished it, thus making it unattainable, makes her want it. I am then repremenaded for not realizing that “no” means “yes”.

In terms of the Phone:

Girl: ( Insert name here) is going to call, but I dont want to talk to him.

( first time)

me: Okay.

Girl: I really dont want to talk to him, like, really. 

(Second Time)

me: Okay

Girl: So when he calls, dont tell him Im here.

(Third time, Im beginning to feel as if she is trying to make sure I get it.)

me: Okay, he calls, you arent here, got it.

Girl: Good.

(Insert name) calls

Girl: Remember, if its him, Im not here.

(Fourth time)

me: Hello? Oh hi (Insert name here) whats up? Uh-huh, uh-huh,…….

Girl: Im not here!

(Fifth time)

me: Who?, oh her, she`s not here. Nope, not here, not able to come to the phone because she isnt here. Yep, I`ll tell her you called, okay, bye.

I am  slapped in the shoulder repeatedly

Girl: Why did you tell him I wasnt here!? Im right here!!! You asshole!

because I was told five separate times, even during the phone call itself, that you were unavailable.


Holiday Wishes by Proxy
December 18, 2008, 7:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Pope of Astoria and I were talking about what we wanted to include in the Parish Christmas card. The Pope had a very quaint, tasteful, and respectful idea. I cannot for the life of me remember what it was. So, in lieu, I have posted this “video card” as a non-denominational Holiday Greeting. I think this sums up the Parish stance on Holiday wishes for all. If you dont get it, well, just keep watching it until you do. Actually, Im not sure I really get it either………

PS. Mr. Coxworth was raised admiring the Monsters of the Midway at Soldier Field, so this is in no way a slight to a man I consider to be “St.” Iron Mike Ditka.

Happy Holidays from!

Memory Lane
December 7, 2008, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

 While walking on 87th street recently with a friend of mine, I passed the Franklin Hotel. The Franklin was where Mr. Coxworth spent about a month and a half languishing away in something most closely resembling oblivion before getting his shit together. As I walked by that neon sign, and saw the people in the “drawing room” enjoying their complementary wine, cheese and dried fruit, I began to think back on my time there. My friend, who is a recent transplant to NYC and still naieve of certain elements of wage slavery asked me, ” was it fun to work there? did you meet any famous people?” Which is a pretty stock NYC job question that outsiders ask, regardless of whether you worked for NBC or in a lunch cart.

No, it wasnt fun, it was depressing and the money sucked. I was a college educated man in my mid twenties scrambling for tips from Portugese tourists that felt showering was unfashionable and claimed the only green they came to NYC with was the green saran wrap from customs around their suitcases, even though they would come back with armloads of designer goods from the Euro- to- Dollar fueled fire sale on Fifth Ave.

But, there was one man who made my short time there somewhat tolerable. His subtle crackpot antics lent a sort of “Fawlty Towers” sensibility to the job, which helped me hold onto my sanity while struggling with thirtysomething Mexican busboys over who would return our roomservice trays for a two dollar tip from the Italian restaurant across the street that served as out “kitchen”. ( NYC is pricy) I`ll call him,…… Mr. Jones.  Mr. Jones was a man in his 60`s, a native New Yorker who made a pile of money with a local chain of retail stores. Mr. Jones had his success, his kids were grown, and he had a pretty swank palatial estate in North Jersey I imagined. So instead of sitting around his house in NJ, he decided to spend Monday through Thursday in Manhattan, checking in on his business and generally enjoying the fruits of his labor. He always stayed at the Franklin, and they gave him a bargain rate because he  stayed  4 days out of every week, annually this was cheaper than a condo, and his wife wouldnt get suspicious. With only 50 rooms Mr.Jones was the bulk of the Franklin`s revenue, so it was always a big deal when he came. He quietly came in and out, smoking cigarettes outside, drinking coffee and walking around. He never said much, he never bothered people for things and if he did, he always tipped well, and he never used the elevator because he said he didnt trust elevators.

 Often, you would run into Mr.Jones in the employee areas down in the guts of the Hotel, which was awkward because in the service industry, these spaces are sacred to employees. These spaces are the primary locale for all of the bitching about guests, condidtions, and management to be done in both spanish and english. Mr. Jones never seemed to pay any attention to that, and just rambled along, but his ubiquity stood out in such a small place.

One day the Franklin was at capacity, which was good, but as any service industry rat knows, nothing is ever just “good”, there must always be a problem, people must find something to complain about. usually it something that would require breaking the laws of physics, or placing ‘guests” into an alternate reality at their leisure.

( i.e. ” My window looks at a wall to the south, can you change that?” or  “its too loud in this city at night, I cant sleep, cant you do something about all the cabs and people yelling?”)

 But this was different, three separate “guests” on the same floor complained about the very distinct smell of marijuana. And all three “guests” were in rooms surrounding Mr. Jones` regular corner room.

Now, management had given Mr.Jones the ok to smoke cigarettes in his room since he was there so much and their business model depended on him, but marijuana? At his age? C`mon. Being the bellmonkey on duty,i was sent up stairs to investigate. One of the guests who complained was a police officer visiting from Arizona, and he was salivating at the idea of making a citizens arrest on his time off, so time and crisis management were both of the utmost importance.

I was sent upstairs with a bottle of febreeze to take care of business. There was no smoke but the smell of sweet ganja brought me directly to Mr. Jones` door. I knocked, and the conversation went like this:

me: “Mr. Jones? Its the bellman from….”

Jones: “What? Why?”

me: ‘Ummm, I just need to come in for a second, people have been noticing…”

Jones: “Who`s been noticing? what do you need to come in for?”

me:” Uhh, the smell”

Jones: “They`ve been noticing a smell? What kind of smell?”

me: “Can I just come in and explain?” ( shuffling and banging of drawers)

Jones:” Its open”

I entered the room to see Mr. Jones sitting on his bed in a t shirt, jeans, and his socks, with a small bong in his lap, smoke slowly curling out of the mouthpiece. For a moment we both stared at each other, mouths open, sharing the same expression, but with 40 some odd years of experience separating us. The conversation continued….

me: “Uhhh, I got febreeze”

This reaction surfaces because I instantly revert back to my College survival skills, Mr Jones and I were just trying to get high before class, and the managers downstairs were the crusty RA`s trying to be the death of our fun. A familiar but fraternal panic swept over me.

Jones: ” Why, is something wrong? Did people say anything?”

me: ‘Well, a couple people near you told the desk….”

Jones: “The Man? what people told the desk? What did they tell them?”

me: ‘ No, the man isnt involved. Its, its just that there was a smell, but I got febreeze.” I began to spray it liberally.

Jones: ” They said I had the smell, they said Mr Jones? Ohhh, no” He clears the bong, gets up and goes to the bathroom to enpty the bongwater in the toilet.

me: “No, no, its cool, they just said smell. Lets just be cool, its fine, its totally fine” I continue spraying and opening windows.

Jones: “Its fine? its fine? Are they still downstairs?” Mr. Jones shuffles around the room, hinding a bag, his bong, bong stem, and what seemed like ten packs of rolling papers all around the room.

me: “Well, yeah, everyone is at the desk.”

Jones” Everyone! no, no , no, ok.” Mr. Jones grabs his shoes and jacket and begins sizing up the window

me; “Did you hide everything?”

Jones: ‘yeah, yeah I think I did. Why? is someone going to look through my room?

me: ” no, no, I just …..”

Jones: “Awww, no, now I gotta get outta here.” He begins to climb out the window.

me: “No, no, no,no Mr. Jones, stop it, stop it! Its fine, its fine, just hang out up here, and come down after I leave.”

Jones: “Ok, Ok, I`ll stay here. But nobody mentioned my name right? Nobody said Mr. Jones right?”

me: “yes, nobody said your name. Its all fine now.” I spray more febreeze to seal our pact and show solidarity.

Jones: “Ok.”

me: “Ok?”


me: “Alright, see you downstairs then Mr. Jones”

Jones: “Ok. So everything is fine?”

me: ” Yes”.

Jones: “And nobody is looking for me?”

me: “No, nobody is loking for you,we just had to take care of the smell.”

Jones: ” But no one said, there is a smell coming from Mr. Jones` room?”

Me: “no.”

Jones: “Nobody said, I think that old guy in the corner is getting high?”

Me: ‘Nope. nobody said that.”

Jones; “Awww man, yes they did , I know they did, I could hear it!”

Me: ” Its fine, just come downstairs in a little bit, everything is fine.”

Jones: ” Its all fine?”

Me: “Yes, its fine”

Jones: ” ok, its fine then.”

I returned to the desk to find the managers talking to a ‘guest’ about the smell, they asked me if it smelled, and I told them no, I just checked and I hadnt the slightest idea of what they were talking about. This seemed to satisfy everyone and I went back to standing outside in front of the door. A few minutes later, I heard a crash from inside the hotel basement, which could be heard because the Franklin is a converted brownstone, and the basement door to the hotel was to the left of the front door, down a recessed flight of stairs below sidewalk level. Out stumbled a dissheveled Mr. Jones, looking wild eyed as Harrison Ford in “FUGUTIVE”. He nodded, and calmly lit a cigarette, produced a take out cup of coffee from his coat and walked away.

 I walked back inside in time to hear one Front Desk Manager say to the other, “Somebody needs to tell Mr. Jones he cant get high in his room anymore, we`ve been cool up until now, but he`s getting sloppy.” I look forward to being old and rich now, I really do.

December 2, 2008, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Recently the Thanksgiving Holiday was upon us. The Pope and I took the time to eat and watch football. Then I got sick. I had the stomach flu for three days after Thanksgiving. I havent been sick in quite some time, about 2 years to be exact, so it was an awkward walk down memory lane.  But oddly enough, it turned out to be the thing I was most thankful for this season. All the time I spent holed up in my room at the rectory, swaddled in blankets, dosed with NyQuil and sweating profusely, drifting in and out of conciousness gave me precious time to commune with myself, time we rarely get. You are alone, battling a virus, and when you beat it you feel a sense of empowerment, like you are meant to be part of the human phalanx that pours down stairs, onto subway cars, and up through the guts of tall buildings everyday. You relive your faults in a dreamlike state, divorced from emotion, and resolve that when you rise again, you will be different. When you come back to the world you are refreshed, and everything you see is refreshing. Yeah, in a weird way, Im Thankful for being sick.